“You had Jesus on your breath
And I caught him in mine
Sweating our confessions
The undone and the divine
This is his body
This is his love
Such selfish prayers
And I can’t get enough”- Bedroom Hymns,
Florence & the Machine
I wrapped my legs around my husband, Marc, kissing him once more. I didn’t want him to leave me. It was already morning, and our rendezvous would be at an end. He remained inside me a few moments longer as I held my arms around his muscular neck like I was clinging for dear life. My husband kissed me deeply, and I held him feeling the sweat on the back of his neck.
There was a softness in Marc’s touch, and I was greedy for more. He shifted away from me as I released my hold on him with my legs. He laughed and kissed me again, and then I felt him slip away from me. A coolness remained between my thighs, as I so desperately wanted his warmth to return.
“What has gotten into you?” My husband Marc asked, kissing my forehead the way he often did after we made love. He rose to sit beside me on the bed, still stroking my hair.
“I just want to stay here all afternoon making love to you.” For the first time in a long time, I meant it. I wanted my husband, as I had when we first met. He was still the love of my life.
Marc laughed as he got up, walking into the bathroom, turning the shower turn on. “Join me?” He yelled and, I hopped out of my bed to join him once again, this time in the shower.
I had never felt so in love with another human being the way I felt with Marc. I thought it was silly to feel so romantic towards a man I had been with for over ten years. Not that is a bad thing, if anything a great thing. We had our typical ups and downs in married life; it got terrible at one point and, I thought he might leave me. Then something happened, and I discovered how much he truly loved me.
It had begun three weeks earlier, and I was sitting at the dinner table alone. I sat waiting for the sound of Marc to come through the front door, but he called to say he would be working late.
I know what your thinking. When a man uses that cliché phrase, it’s never good. Every bad daytime TV soap opera has had that as a scenario.
Marc was different; I told myself. He’d never cheat on me, would he?
I lost my appetite, and I decided to put my dinner away. It was just after seven o’clock and, I was stretching the aluminum foil over my dinner plate when the front door handle jiggled and, I heard keys. Marc was home.
“Beth, something smells delicious!”
I walked over to him and, he looked like he had been sweating. His face crowned from his collar and his eyes dropped into a half-cocked smile.
“I was just putting dinner away. Didn’t think you’d be hungry.”
“I didn’t eat at the office. You made my favorite.” He said, lifting the lid to the roasted chicken.
I made him a plate and picking up the cane I now used I limped towards the kitchen, but Marc stopped me, “You don’t have to do it, I can.” He stood up. I furiously shook my head and then walked towards the kitchen; placed it in the microwave, heating it. When it was hot, I walked into the dining room where he was already sitting, placing his dinner plate in front of him.
“Thank you.” Marc smiled, tenderly at me, and I went to grab a glass of wine. Sitting in front of him at the table, with the freshly poured wine, I looked at my husband as he devoured his dinner.
“How was work?”
“Mmhm, you know, usual.”
“How’s the chicken? I used rosemary this time.”
“Mm very good. Least it isn’t shellfish. How was your day?”
I recalled the last time I cooked I had forgotten my husband was allergic to shellfish and accidentally forgot to warn him that the pasta I made myself that afternoon for lunch had shrimp in it when he decided to sample a bite after his workout. It was a close call, but he ended up having a quick trip to the ER. I had misplaced the epi-pen when we moved into our new home, and I couldn’t find it. I felt terrible, just another way I failed at being the perfect wife I supposed.
“I spoke to someone about that bush in the back, and it can be taken up to put in the cherry trees. He says we don’t have to remove it there should be enough room for them as long as they are on the opposite side of the garden. I’m so glad because I thought it was dead.” I could tell I was boring him. Hell, I was boring myself. This is what married life of ten years had become?
“Oh, that’s great news babe.” He faked his enthusiasm. “The greenhouse is coming together nicely. I love seeing you find joy in something that makes you happy.”
“It’s been a long journey,” I said, thinking about what brought me to my current situation tapping the cane next to me. My permanent disability seemed to keep me limited and not just physically. It was the way Marc looked at me, like he felt sorry for me, not love pity.
“You’re the best little housewife a man could ask for.” He stood up, then wiping his mouth. “Going to take a quick shower, then how about we watch This Is Us?”
I smiled at Marc. I was so glad to have him in my life because he had been so supportive. I fought with myself about going back to work. I knew I could never return after what happened.
I was walking to my car in the poorly lit garage that was connected to my office where I worked for a large marketing firm when out of nowhere a man wearing a mask put a gun to my head robbing me at gunpoint. I tried to run away, but he caught up with me and knocked me to the ground climbing on top of me and pistol-whipping me until I was knocked unconscious. I was struck that I woke up in the hospital three days later with a gash in my skull. It messed up part of my brain, and after a long recovery, it caused permanent nerve damage leaving me partially paralyzed and I had to learn to walk again. I worked hard at getting to where I am now. I missed my independence, but the thought of returning to work made me fearful. My therapist called it PTSD. I’d call it crippling.
They never caught the man who did it. There were a few leads, but nothing concrete. I never saw his face he had a mask on, and there were no security cameras in the parking garage. I stayed in a lot after that almost afraid to leave my house. We even moved to a new home because Marc thought it would help me by giving me something to occupy me. He knew I loved gardening, and it had an old greenhouse that I began to renovate. It was slow, but it helped me recover. I was content, and it kept my mind off my attack.
I’d wake up sometimes screaming because of it. It was hard for me to rest at all. The only thing that helped was my plants, and our new German Shepherd puppy, Sergio. Marc has gotten him to make me feel safe, and also to keep me company.
In a short time of us moving to our new home, Marc had grown distant. I noticed it whenever we made love. It lacked feeling and tenderness it wasn’t a feeling of love, but rather out of necessity. Marc was doing his duty, and I blamed myself, being touched was hard after my attack. I recall the first time we had sex after the attack, he had started gently enough, but we had gotten rather frisky and he bent me forward like we had done hundreds of times before, I fell over onto the floor. I recall looking up at Marc feeling somewhat embarrassed by it, and Marc just stood there looking at me. Marc said nothing, just looked at me saying not a word for what seemed forever before he finally helped me up, and we agreed the moment was over for the night.
We tried again a few nights later. Marc again had become rather excited quickly- too quickly. He grabbed me by the thighs forcing them around his hips; pushing himself on top of me. Immediately I saw the man with the mask in a flashback of my attack. I screamed, scaring the hell out of Marc until he ran out of our bedroom.
Marc returned with a robe for me, and while he was a patient man, he was a man with needs. I recall the look of sadness, annoyance, and a tinge of anger in Marc’s eyes.
Then the late nights started, texting at the dinner table, and the disinterest in spending any form of quality time together. I kept to myself more and more and didn’t allow the affair to bother me. Marc loved me. At least I still wanted to believe that he did.
It was a week before what I call the Accident. I was sorting through Marc’s clothes and trying to figure out what needed to go to the laundry when I found a tiny box in his pocket. I smiled, but my smile quickly turned to anger, embarrassment, and pain inside was a giant engagement ring.
It’s one thing to know you have been cheated on, it’s another to have proof, but being thrown aside like garbage was worse than death. I sat down on the bed, and my cane rolled under the bed. I went to grab it and fell to the floor. I struggled to sit up, but I didn’t want to. I laid there looking up at the ceiling, tears streaming down my face. How did this happen? What changed to make him love her? What could I do to stop this? Did I want to? Was Marc even good enough for me anymore?
I bawled my eyes out for another twenty minutes, alone on our hard wooden bedroom floor. I kept thinking of all those wonderful times we had spent together, all those days we had laughed at the beginning of our relationship. We had planned our lives together, and while we knew life wasn’t perfect, we could get through anything. Then this, I looked at the cane under our marital bed. It was like a beacon of failure and taunted me because I couldn’t change a damn thing. This was us, now.
After another few moments, I managed to sit up, grabbing my cane. I slowly and awkwardly stood up and managed to put Marc’s things where I had found them.
This entire emotional outburst was beneath me. Nothing was set in stone. I still had a chance to make Marc forget about her. There was one thing, though, I had to know more about my competition.
Marc had underestimated his wife and the number of natural investigation skills I had from working in marketing. I worked on researching my clients’ needs, so, I knew every need and want.
That night when Marc passed out, I began with his phone. It had a six-digit passcode which I managed to break because his favorite baseball player of all time was Manny Ramirez and he often used Manny’s birthday 05-30-72. Marc forgot that I often paid attention to details and this was one he forgot I knew.
As soon as I got into his phone, I was overwhelmed by how much they were in communication. Her name was Amber, and she was young, very young. My guess she was college age because she had on a university t-shirt in one of the photos she sent him. I was able to read all of the texts starting from when their relationship first began. My husband wasn’t smart enough to delete the messages. Was he even trying to conceal his affair?
The messages had begun harmless enough. Amber was his waitress at a lunch spot, and he had forgotten his credit card. There was nothing flirtatious about the beginning texts, but then they seemed to become friends. In a short time, I had evidence of when the first time they were intimate. I was destroying myself as tears fell from my face. My investigation was making me feel awful, but I had to know. I kept on reading the messages.
There was one, however, that destroyed me the most.
She’s still alive. I’m not sure if I’m happy about that. It would be so much easier than telling her the truth. – Marc texted.
I can’t see you anymore, Marc. Amber texted in response to him.
Then there seemed to be a break in their relationship by the dates of their messages.
However, after Marc and I’s sex life had dwindled to nothing, theirs picked back up.
There were racy photos of her that were sent to him and vice versa. The things Amber said she wanted to do to him when she got him alone made my skin crawl. The kind, gentle, loving man I had known had sent her some of the vilest sexually explicit texts about sexual acts he wanted to do to her. It didn’t end there, and there were secret codes they used to tell each other where to meet. He would go running in the evening sometimes after work. In reality, he wasn’t going running. He was fucking Amber! I didn’t even suspect when he’d come home sweaty and run straight to the shower. He even wore his running clothes. I felt so stupid.
I put the phone down, and I couldn’t read anymore. Then I saw it light up once more and saw he had a message from someone by the name of Ryan that only said “CALL ME” I assumed it was another colleague of Marcs. I happened to notice that several messages were pleading with Marc to call him. I just set the phone aside, deciding I was done playing Inspector Gadget.
I was hopeful, however, even if that was completely stupid that maybe I could somehow salvage the relationship. Most women would be furious. I’m not saying I wasn’t mad, but he was still my husband! At least I now knew who I was up against.
The following day I made an appointment to get my hair and nails done. Always had been a light ash blonde, I got my hair highlighted and cut. I even had my makeup done and got some tips on applying it. I had never really worn lipstick before. A little mascara, cover-up maybe but I had them give me the works. I was going to make Marc wish he’d never taken up with Amber.
I pulled into the driveway that evening just as it had begun to rain. Pulling the car into the garage, I noticed the door going directly into the kitchen from our garage was cracked. I heard what sounded like a woman’s voice. Then I heard Marc.
“I wasn’t flirting with her! It meant nothing to me at all! She’s a colleague, Amber.”
That is when I turned and almost left. What was I going to do? Should I burst into my house? I know a lot of you reading this would. I’m telling you I thought about it, but it was what I heard next that stopped me.
“I’m telling your wife about us! You’re a pathetic loser who can’t keep his dick in his pants. I thought I was different!”
I listened, but it got quiet. Too quiet.
Then I heard the clanking of heals on my wooden floor. Then I heard Marc again. He sounded so angry.
“You’re not telling anyone anything! Get back here, slut! Or maybe you like it when I’m rough with you?”
“Stop it! Marc, I said, stop it!”
“Come back! I’m sorry!”
There was the sound of someone walking fast, and then I heard her.
“I’m leaving! I’m done, Marc!”
I heard the back door to the garden slam. I slowly walked into the kitchen.
“I mean it! I’m calling her now!”
My cellular began to vibrate inside my purse.
Then I saw him grab her.
“You won’t hurt her bitch!”
Marc picked up a stone from the garden and hit her as hard as he could killing her instantly. I was shocked. I felt numb.
Without realizing it, my feet were walking towards the back door, which I opened to our garden. The rain was falling all around Marc in his gray suit. He was looking down at the crime he had just committed.
He looked up, and I saw his face grow white. Then I saw him grab a shovel and come at me.
“Stop Marc! Please! It’s okay. It’s okay!”
Tears fell from his eyes as he walked up to me. It was obvious he knew that I knew what had been going on the entire time.
“Please, Marc, don’t hurt me,” I said fearing he may now lash out at me because I was a witness. “It’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be fine now.”
“How? Look what I’ve done!” Marc crouched over Amber’s body his hands shaking.
I knew what he had done. I saw it with my own eyes. It was what he said before killing Amber, that I couldn’t forget. I wanted to call the police, tell them everything I was such angry moments ago. But as I stood there, rain pouring on me as it finally began to slow to a drizzle. I began to feel something else entirely. Lust. I wanted Marc so severely as I saw what he had done for me!
“We will find a way to get rid of the body,” I said matter of fact. “I won’t let anything happen to you. Go inside the house. I’ll figure out what we need to do next.”
Marc nodded and slowly walked towards me. He held onto my hand, as the devastation of his actions were finally realized. He sluggishly walked into the house. I looked at him for a long moment, unsure of what I was going to do.
I took one look at the woman. I limped over to her body and looked at her. Her eyes were still wide open as blood seeped out from the wound in the back of her head.
I began to cry. These were no tears of remorse as I looked over at the woman on the ground before me. These were tears of joy. Marc loved me; he did.
I covered her up for the time being with a large sheet of tarp and followed Marc back into the house.
“We have two choices. We can bury her or burn her.”
“What?” He looked up from the chair he was now sitting in.
“Marc, we can’t call the police you will go to jail for the rest of your life, we need to dispose of the body,” I said flatly.
He nodded, and then the two of us went back outside, and Marc dug a hole six feet just like at a cemetery. We dropped Amber in, and as we both used shovels to throw the dirt back over her, I saw a set of cherry trees I had bought at the garden store the week before that I had not planted yet.
“Let’s put one of these over her. No one will suspect anything.” I said matter of fact.
Marc didn’t question it. He did as I told him. He said nothing still as I made him wash his hands and sit at our dinner table while I made us a nice dinner. He sat staring into space unflinchingly as I sat a dinner plate in front of him.
“What’s done is done, Marc. I know things between us haven’t been great. I hope that now we share this secret we can move forward after all every marriage has bumps in the road. The thing is I love you even after I saw what you did. I know you did it for me because you love me.”
Marc sat there, staring at me with an odd expression on his face. Dirt still covered his dress shirt.
“After dinner, we will have to get you cleaned up.” I smiled at him.
“How can you be so accepting of what I just did?”
“Because I love you. When we got married, we made vows to each other. Sickness and health, good times and bad times, till death do us part.”
“I can’t do this.” Marc began to sob his hands covered his eyes.
“Don’t be such a coward. After all, you weren’t afraid when you were fucking her behind my back hoping I’d never find out. Least you can do is eat the dinner I prepared for you.”
Marc looked at me as I cut my chicken. I used my fork to pick up a bite of my food. He seemed relieved by my reaction.
“Pass the salt.” He said to me, finally digging into his dinner.
“Of course, my darling,” I said with genuine delight.
Marc ate slowly like a man on death row.
When he was finished, he stood, “may I be excused? I need a shower if that’s alright.”
I nodded, and he disappeared up to our bedroom. I heard him shut the door and I too stood. Looking at the dirt under still under my fingernails, I told myself it was a dirty job, but someone had to do it.
I put the plates in the dishwasher and then I thought of Marc. I went upstairs and opened our bedroom door. I heard the shower going, and I began to disrobe. I put my cane up against the door of the bathroom and went in. I found Marc there on the floor of the bathroom shower crying.
I stepped inside the shower, and he clung to me as tears fell from him. I held on to him as he clung to my naked body. All at once, I was overwhelmed by how much I wanted him. He kissed me first, and that was all it took. For the first time in years, we had crazy, passionate sex. He held me so tightly, lifting me against the shower. There were no worries of me falling this time. It was like we were making love for the very first time. Our mutual lust for one another was both out of comfort and rage. I had never felt so attracted to any man as much as I was Marc. He had killed because of me! At that moment, there was nothing hotter. It didn’t register to me at that moment how wrong it was to feel this way. I was high on how much I was falling in love with my husband, and I just wanted him, and nothing could bring me down.
It was a week before things between us got back to our routine. I advised Marc that it was best if he destroyed all evidence of his relationship with Amber. Luckily for us both, she didn’t have any family that would go looking for her.
I didn’t want to think about Amber anymore. I tried to forget about the entire affair. I was no longer angry with him for having it. I didn’t care about anything except Marc and me.
Two months later, the tree we had buried her under seemed to flourish. Whenever I looked at her unmarked grave part of me felt grateful. If she hadn’t come into our lives, our marriage would have never been saved.
Then something happened. Marc was at work one afternoon, so I was utterly alone. I could have sworn I heard someone downstairs in my living room.
I was in the shower when I heard Sergio barking loudly. I thought nothing of it at first, so I finished my shower and was wrapping a large towel around me when I listened to the creaking of the stairs. I stopped dead in my tracks. Then I called out “Marc? Is that you?”
Nothing. I called out again, and then I heard the sound of the stairs. I flung open my door to Sergio approaching the landing just outside my bedroom door.
I smiled relieved. “Hey, there good boy what’s gotten you so excited?” I patted him on his head, and he walked into my bedroom, finding a spot directly onto my bed.
“Sergio off!” I yelled at him.
He barked, looking not at me, but past me.
I slowly turned just as I once again heard the creaking of the stairs. Sergio began to growl as I looked back over to the door. It had started shutting on its own. I took a deep breath and then walked over to the door. As I did, I heard the kitchen door closing. I ran downstairs with Sergio next to me. I clung to my towel as I ran, but when I got to the door, there was no one there.
I stood there, and I couldn’t see anyone, but the garden gate that led into my greenhouse was swinging back and forth. I knew someone was there.
When Marc returned home from work, I told him about it.
“I’ll change the locks tonight. We can’t take any chances.”
I knew what he meant, and so Marc went to the hardware store. When he returned, he changed all of the locks, including to the gate that leads to the greenhouse.
The gate was next to that tree we planted over Amber’s body.
The next few days were uneventful, and to my sadness, Marc had to go out of town for a conference. I would be alone with Sergio for the long weekend.
The first night Marc was gone, he called me to check on me. He hadn’t done that in so long. I felt loved, truly loved, for the first time in years.
I read in bed for a long time until I fell asleep. I woke to the sound of barking, and I sat up in bed. It was nearly six-thirty. I grabbed my cane and slowly moved from my bed, thinking Sergio must need to go outside to pee. I grabbed my robe and put on my slippers. I made it to the kitchen and let Sergio out the back door. I made myself a pot of coffee and went to the front door to grab the paper.
I bent over to get the newspaper when I felt something inside the paper. It was something hard, and just as I was beginning to unwrap the newspaper to find out what it was, I heard my cell phone going off. I ran in thinking it must be Marc, but when I answered the phone, there was no one there.
“Hello?” still nothing.
I looked at my phone, and there was from an unknown number.
My thoughts turned to the newspaper, and as I unfolded the paper, I quickly dropped it. My hands went to my mouth in shock at what I was seeing. Inside the newspaper was a set of photos of Marc and me burying Amber. I cannot tell you how sick I was now, as the reality was now hitting me like a ton of bricks.
My coffee pot coughed as the last drop of coffee spewed into the coffee pot, causing a gurgling sound. I looked up out the window, wondering where Sergio was.
I quickly went outside in a panic calling out to Sergio. I saw him finally running towards me tail wagging. I saw him then. A man was standing at the gate, wearing a black scarf over his face and a black cap. He was all in black from head to toe, and he was watching me from the shadows of the tree line. I screamed, running into the house, locking and bolting the door.
I sat out of view of the menacing stranger, and when I stood up to peek, he was gone. Whoever this man was, he knew about Amber.
I should call the cops. But if I did, I wouldn’t know what to say. This man knew what we had done. I didn’t want to go to jail. I couldn’t be sent to prison as an accomplice.
I took a deep breath, trying to think. I wanted to call Marc, but he’d be in meetings all day. I’d have to wait till later on.
I poured a cup of coffee, and my hands were shaking. I managed to get through my day unharmed by whomever the man was. I guessed that he wanted to blackmail us. I knew it wouldn’t be the last I would hear from him, and the question was when?
That day I spent behind both doors thinking of a plan of action. I remembered the loaded revolver that Marc had in his office safe, just in case. I had it next to me on my nightstand. I even placed a chair in front of my bedroom door, and I even let Sergio sleep in my bed. I wasn’t taking any chances.
Night one was over, and I only had to get through one more day. I had no desire to leave my house, but there was a loud bang on my front door just shortly after six in the morning. I opened my bedroom door and peeked over the railing. There was a floor to ceiling glass window where I could see who was at the door. From my bird’s eye view, I could see it was just the newspaper having being flung at my front door. I crept downstairs and looked outside. I didn’t want to go out. I was afraid that whoever was out there was watching me. The stranger knew my routine or else he wouldn’t have known when I got my newspaper.
I limped over towards the back door and Sergio began to whine to go out. Not wanting to take any chances, I grabbed his leash. I didn’t want him running off again.
I opened the door and looked around. We walked outside into the yard, and Sergio did his business. I kept looking around my shoulder, and I hurried Sergio along.
I was startled by the sound of a crash coming from just inside the door of the greenhouse. It startled me so badly, I lost my footing, and I nearly fell over. It was two squirrels chasing each other. I caught myself just in time before I fell. As I was stabilizing myself, Sergio’s leash firmly gripped in my hand, and I felt him touch me gently on the shoulder. When I looked up, it was the man I had been hiding from. I screamed, dropping Sergio’s leash. He ran into the house leash still connected to him. Some watchdog, I thought as I struggled. I hit the man in the face with my cane as I tried to escape into the house, but he had me by the waist, pulling me towards him.
He was strong, massive even. Then he put his hand over my mouth and whispered in my ear.
“Shh! I’m not here to hurt you!”
His deep voice took me off guard. It was a voice I didn’t recognize at all.
He carried me into my house, shutting and locking the door behind me. He sat me down on my kitchen chair and securing my legs with a rope to one of my kitchen chairs.
“This is for my protection.” He smirked, taking off his scarf.
Then the stranger removed his jacket, and I couldn’t help but notice he was a large, muscular man. He wasn’t bad looking either, and I could tell he was attracted to me too by the way he was eyeing me, but I only thought of how I could use it to my advantage. I had to be smart.
“Look, I know what you and Marc did. I know why you did what you did. I’m offering you a way out.”
“How much money do you want?” I asked, annoyed.
“It’s not money. It’s you I want.”
“Kill me and get it over with!” I retorted.
He let out a loud laugh that echoed through my house.
“Look, lady, I don’t mean any offense, but if killing you were easy, I would have already succeeded. I think we can work together in a much more satisfying way.”
“What do you want?” I yelled
“I need your help. I want to kill your fucking husband.”
I looked at him and laughed. Was this man crazy?
“You don’t know me from anywhere. But you may know my handiwork.”
I still didn’t understand.
“I’m sorry.” His Face was genuine.
“Sorry for what.”
“Think.” He said firmly.
He picked up my cane and sat it on my lap. Then it hit me like lightning. This man was the reason I was crippled. He was the one that had tried to kill me that day in the parking garage.
“Your husband hired me.”
I choked back another laugh mingled with tears. “No, Marc wouldn’t do something like that!”
“He did. There was a problem, and I couldn’t go through with it. You were a nice lady. He’s a piece of shit. Hear me out. I say, he died in an accident you’d collect a rather large sum of money. You both have large insurance payouts on you.”
“How would you know that?”
“What do you think your husband offered me in payment if I killed you?”
I thought about it, but then something occurred to me. The stranger was desperate, or else this man wouldn’t need me to help him.
“Those pictures why did you leave them?” I asked the stranger.
“They were to blackmail your husband. I should have made a little more money after my last job, but I never got paid in full because job the job wasn’t finished. I was hoping he’d pay me what he owes me out of fear. I’ve been watching the two of you. He’s really done a number on you. He’s got you lying for him, covering up his murders. I thought maybe, just maybe when he saw how loyal you were to him, he’d stop. But he didn’t stop, and you only did him a favor. He called me again last week. Said he’d be going away on business- this time finish the job.” he trailed off.
“No!” I said, trying to get untied.
The large stranger came over to me and bent down to untie me. One of his hands were almost as large as my thigh. He could have snapped me in half at any time. He held on to both of my thighs looking into my eyes.
“I’m so sorry.” He said, pulling out an envelope from inside his jacket and handed to me. I cautiously opened it and inside were photos of my husband dated from just the night before. He was having sex with, Tara, the colleague he had told Amber he wasn’t sleeping with. I recognized her from last years Christmas party at Marc’s work. My heart was so broken that rage now grew inside of me. I wanted to kill him, but first, the stranger in front of me. Maybe they were photoshopped.
I smacked his face, and he barely flinched. It felt enjoyable but not as satisfying as putting him in a hole in my garden. I wanted to kill him for this. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
I thought of the last two months and how everything had been perfect.
“Okay,” I said under my breath.
The stranger only nodded in understanding.
He untied me, but I wasn’t very trusting. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I knew I wasn’t going to help this lowlife murder my husband. I let the stranger think I was for now. There were at least eight hours between now and when Marc would walk through that door. I was afraid of what this man would do to me if he thought I wasn’t down with his plan.
“What is your name?” I asked him calmly.
“You can call me Ryan.”
“Is Ryan your real name?” I asked, almost flirting.
“It isn’t important. What time will Marc be home?”
“By five o’clock. It looks like we have some time to kill. Would you like something to eat?”
“No, but do you have any beer?”
I opened the refrigerator and found some IPA that was Marc’s favorite and handed it to Ryan. “I think I have a bottle opener around here somewhere.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He opened it using a can of Grizzly Straight that he pulled out from inside of his jacket.
“Impressive.” I laughed.
“Thanks.” he stood walking into the living room. Ryan, or whatever his real name was, sat down in Marc’s recliner and turned on the television. There was something about the man that made me unafraid. Maybe it was that he was so sure of himself.
I just watched him for a while studying him.
“I need to go get dressed.” I finally said, escaping. He didn’t seem to care where I went. He was more interested in what was now entertaining him on the television. Again, I felt unthreatened.
I went to my bedroom and called Marc. There was no answer, of course. I was hoping he was on a plane on his way home. I undressed, but then my bedroom door opened slowly. I was caught off guard by Ryan standing there watching me as I stood in my underwear and bra.
“Just making sure you weren’t calling the cops,” he said in a brutish manner.
“No, no cops,” I said, feeling suddenly like prey.
“Good, hurry up and get back downstairs,” he said, still watching me from the doorway.
“Okay, can I have some privacy?”
“Your husband is an idiot,” he said, walking over and sitting on the edge of the bed. He watched me and then took off his jacket. Shit, he was coming towards me.
Ryan put his hand up against my hip and rubbed it. It was my right side that didn’t work and had caused me to use a cane for the rest of my life. I wasn’t using the cane right now. I was vulnerable, and my breathing was heavy as fear of being raped in my bedroom was now a genuine reality. I looked up at Ryan and smiled.
“Some handiwork,” I smirked.
“Beth, you’re beautiful,” he said, kissing me.
My skin began to crawl in a way that I cannot explain. I wanted to shower the second his lips met mine. I backed away tears nearly falling from my eyes. I tried to remain calm as I pushed him away gently.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it.”
“It’s okay,” I lied.
He grabbed me, pulling me against his massive chest. I squirmed to get away from him. He held on to me.
“Beth please don’t fight me.”
I managed to escape long enough to grab my cane. I picked it up and hit him in the face with it.
Ryan stopped in his tracks, anger now on his face. I knew I was done for now. That is when I remembered the pistol in the drawer next to the bed. Ryan grabbed at me once more, but I managed to roll onto the bed, falling onto the other side of the floor. I grabbed the gun from the drawer and aimed the gun at him. Ryan stopped just as I aimed and fired one shot into the center of his forehead.
He was dead before he fell against the wall and slid down it. Sergio came running into the bedroom, barking his head off.
I walked over to Ryan and looked down at him. I’d need Marc’s help for this one. He was a large man, and getting rid of this body was not going to be easy for a disabled woman like me.
I dressed and cleaned the gun, returning it to where it was before. I shut the bedroom door, and then I waited for Marc to come home.
I cleared the beer bottle off the side table next to Marc’s recliner, and washed some dishes. Then I prepared something for dinner. “Alfredo linguini I think,” I said to myself.
Marc came home, and I took him to our bedroom, he seemed oddly relieved as though a huge weight had now lifted off his shoulders.
Marc and I buried Ryan in our back yard next to Amber and planted one of the small cherry trees over his now unmarked grave. There was still one cherry tree left, and I figured I’d have Marc help me with that a little later or I’d call someone.
I allowed Marc to clean up, and then I prepared our dinner plates.
When Marc sat down to the table, he was all smiles, and once again we shared a dark secret. I looked at my husband. He took a bite of linguini.
“How was Tara?”
Mark coughed. “Oh, she was fine. The conference was a little too long for my taste.”
Marc coughed again.
“More wine?” I asked him.
He nodded profusely.
I stood up and walked the bottle over to him. I sat the bottle of wine on one of the photos that Ryan had given me of Marc in the throws of passion with Tara.
Marc coughed again.
“I asked you a question, how was Tara?”
“Please!” Marc coughed again. He pushed the photo away turning his eyes to me pleading. His face began to get red, and his throat became swollen.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t allow you to continue to hurt me. I loved you so much. I was a good wife to you, Marc, I was. But I’m not perfect. I forgot you were allergic to shellfish.”
He looked at me with terror on his face as I watched him die.
No one ever suspected I had anything to do with Marc’s death. I inherited a rather lovely sum of money. His funeral was beautiful, and I watched Tara crying as she stood over his coffin. I watched her thinking about what a whore she was. It was a shame that I couldn’t have done away with her too, but Marc was gone so she wouldn’t be my problem anymore.
I had a friend I met at the local Garden store to help me with my last cherry tree. We planted it next to Amber and Ryan. I had Marc cremated, and so I was able to spread his ashes over that last little cherry tree.
Kyle is a complete breath of fresh air. I guess you could say we are dating because he is over every single day. I just hope that Kyle lasts it would be a shame to lose someone as valuable as he is.
After all, I’m out of cherry trees.